In a move that will enhance the functionality of discovery services available through its partners and competitors alike, EBSCO Information Services last month announced a new policy on metadata sharing that will make all metadata for 129 of its full-text databases, more than 550,000 ebooks and more than 70 historical digital archives available to third-party discovery services. The policy also outlines a commitment to provide assistance with linking technology that has been requested by customers. Previously, the company had required third-party discovery services, such as OCLC’s WorldCat or Ex Libris’s Primo Discovery and Delivery, to use an EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) API in order to search EBSCO content.
There is great hope that these rapidly maturing discovery products will not only promote information literacy strategies but also deliver what metasearch (or federated search) has failed to achieve—a Google-like interface that provides a fast, single point of entry to an institution’s relevant and vetted scholarly content. However, at the moment, even as libraries are struggling to reestablish themselves as a compelling place to start research, the three constituencies—libraries, content providers, and discovery service vendors—cannot even agree on a common vocabulary to describe what they do.